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Team Cycling Plus 2010 – where are they now?

| Blog, Cycling Plus | 24/01/2013 11:14am

Back in 2010, my cycling received a massive boost when I received an exciting email. Along with three other lucky cyclists, I had been chosen to be a member of Team Cycling Plus – the magazine’s reader team. We were promised our best ever year of cycling, the use of a brand new Verenti Millook, a pile of dhb kit and the input of a variety of experts in helping us become better riders. For all of us, the year easily lived up to its billing, with many memorable experiences. But what happened after our time in the team ended? Did we go from strength to strength, or was it a case of “after the Lord Mayor’s show”?

In 2008, Sam Shaw weighed 126 kg. Having taken up cycling to lose weight, he was still a relative newcomer to the sport in 2010. Now with two children and weighing in at a significantly healthier 77kg, Sam is a keen racer and even developing an addiction to hill climbs. After spending the winter of 2011 preparing for the race season, illness robbed Sam of some of his form and he was dropped by the bunch in his first road race. Refusing to be disheartened he worked hard through the summer and can now keep up with sponsored riders on the club chain gangs. He has high hopes for 2013 and plans to come out with all guns blazing in his quest for a Cat 3 licence. Sam has also taken an interest in the mechanical side of things, building his own winter bike and has even tackled the mystical art of wheelbuilding.

 

 

Kay Bowen was a keen triathlete before joining the team. She’s not given up on triathlon, but now combines it with riding sportives (finishing as the 6th woman in one 100km event) and commuting to her job as an assistant headteacher on her trusty Verenti – up the “steepest hill for miles around”. She has taken up sailing and along with her sport-mad family, she has plans to swim the equivalent of the English Channel for the Aspire charity. Her husband Rob has set up a business building, repairing and servicing bikes, which sees some fairly awesome kit coming through the Bowen house.

 

 

 

 

Malcolm Ratcliffe has also kept on the bike since Team Cycling Plus rode into the sunset for the last time. Despite heavy work commitments, he has managed to get out for a long ride every week around Birmingham and the surrounding countryside and slotted in a few evening rides through the summer. His 2012 highlight was the Bike Blenheim Palace Cycling festival where he watched the Brompton World Championships and rode the 60 mile sportive through the short sharp climbs and twisty descents of the Cotswolds. He also managed to get to the Track World Cup at the Olympic Velodrome to see world records tumbling and British cyclists tacking the top step of the podium. He finished the year by growing a handlebar moustache in a variety of colours for Movember.

 

 

Which leaves me. I did not think it would be possible to beat my year in Team Cycling Plus, but every year since has been brilliant. The coaching and advice we received gave me the confidence to take my cycling further – I’ve raced in time trials, won a couple of hill climbs and fallen in love with cyclocross this winter. Like Sam, I tried road racing; unlike Sam, I crashed horribly and decided it wasn’t for me! As a GP, I’ve continued to write for Cycling Plus, providing the medical advice, the odd blog and a very occasional feature. My highlight of 2012 was the Dunwich Dynamo overnight ride from Hackney to the Suffolk coast – it didn’t all go swimmingly, but that was all part of the adventure. I’m hoping 2013 will be another excellent year – it’s looking good so far – in May I’m off to Majorca for a long weekend’s cycling with a couple of mates.

 

 

So there we are. I think we all agree that Team Cycling Plus was a brilliant experience, one that kickstarted our cycling and gave us the confidence to take on new challenges. The good news is that this year is a chance for you to join the team. Pick up issue 271, out now, to find out how…

Andy Ward http://twitter.com/awkwardcyclist 

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